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Me in Merkle - Laura Monselice

Me In Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Laura Monselice, director - technology consulting, at Merkle.

1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Originally from Milan, I moved to London in 2001 after spending a few years in Australia and travelling around South East Asia. I currently live in Bedford with my family and Hugo the cat who loves to make an appearance every time I’m on a video call.

2. What drew you to your current career?

I started my career as PR and Marketing Executive in the late 1990s (I know right that’s not only last Century, it’s last Millennium!!) In 2004 I stumbled into search marketing with a multi-language copy writer contract for Expedia XML trusted feed for Mirago (sounds like ancient history now but I swear it was cutting edge stuff fifteen years ago). I branched out to paid search and SEO and quickly fell in love with adtech. Through acquisition I went from a small tech start-up into Microsoft who later sold it to Facebook so I moved to GroupM as Head of Search for Mindshare. When my family moved to Teesside, I took a few years off my full-time career and started a consultancy. My projects included helping a publisher-side DMP with their Brand Safety and Suitability proposition and a B2B Channel Marketing agency with their ambition to branch out into tech. In my spare time I wrote several bad novels, managed to publish two half-decent ones, graduated from a masters in Creative Writing and founded a literary zine for exophonic writers. I like to learn/try new things and CXM felt like a great next challenge.

3. Why Merkle?

I heard many positive stories about Merkle over the years, so I already knew about the nurturing culture and the good reputation, plus, every white paper and POVs I read on Merkle’s website really reasoned with my own thinking which was exciting.

Another element that brought this role and Merkle above other offers, was the great experience with the recruiting team, the chemistry with the hiring manager and dentsu’s investment in sustainability.

4. What do you enjoy most about technology consulting and what do you think future developments will be?

Technology is at the core of digital transformation and our team is right at the centre of it all. The landscape is buzzing with thousands of tools and new platforms coming on the market every day and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one, implement it correctly and ensure internal adoption. As consultants, we help our clients navigate the space to get the most of their investment. I love that we are trusted advisors who play such a pivotal and strategic role.

5. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in your team?

My advice is to find a place where you can be yourself amongst likeminded people. We are a pretty welcoming bunch who champion diversity, are passionate about technology and are not afraid to start the day with a Gif or to share our favourite anthems on the team’s Spotify playlist. If this sounds good, then we are probably a good fit for you.

6. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Last year I home-schooled a six-year-old during the pandemic while doing a masters, getting my second novel ready for publication, selling + packing our old house and buying a new one half-way down the country…

7. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.

All the people I’ve met from both Merkle and dentsu are very smart and super nice, loving it so far!

8. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?

I love that everyone is very collaborative and no one (doesn’t matter how senior) seems to be too busy to help.

9. What was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be a female Indiana Jones and that’s why I studied Classics. However, I quickly realise that I was more interested in technology and innovation than ancient artefacts, so I gave up the fedora and the whip and embraced the keyboard!

10. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?

I’m one of the champions for dentsu’s Social Impact – and very excited about the initiatives planned for this year. This month I’ve used some of my volunteering days allowance to work on a stress and mental health project. I’m a supporter and ally of all DEIs pillars, and I’d like to get more involved with the gender and the ethnicity ones. Also, I’m the founder and managing editor for an online literary magazine to help non-English writers to have a platform for their work.

11. How do you like your eggs?

I’m fussy when it comes to eggs as much as James Bond was with his Martinis. I like soft boiled in a niçoise salad, poached with avocado, scrambled with salmon, fried with Marmite on toast and “with a kiss” if I were to travel back to New York in the 50s (like that famous musical)

12. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime/Disney Plus?

It’s probably quicker to say what I’m NOT watching as I’m a greedy streamer. Most recent binges were Bridgerton2, The Walking Dead, This is Us, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, Succession and Billions. I’m also waiting for the next series of Stranger Things (why is it taking so long?!?)

13. What’s your guilty pleasure?

See previous answer

14. What is your dream holiday destination?

Hawaii – but to be honest after two years of pandemic I’ll take anything

15. Best advice or mantra you live by?

There are two actually – the first is a tactical, straight forward but effective piece of common wisdom: “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”.

The second is a quote from the great Stephen Hawking “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.”